Imagine this : You and your female companion enter a small town occupied by hundreds of thugs ready to kick your ass. Luckily one of your arms is the “God Hand” , one of the arms used to defeat the all-mighty demon known as Angra. With this “God Hand” you can beat enemies to a pulp, spank female enemies, stomp enemies’ faces into the dirt and oh, you can also unleash special moves known as Roulettes that can literally slice the heads of enemies. Sound Fun? Then welcome to the world of “God Hand”.
God Hand was released in the United States in 2007 so it was missed by many people who had already packed their Playstation 2s away for the Ps3. But these people missed out on a great experience. God Hand is re-imagining of a classic “beat-em-up” game with over the top action and sly, self-aware humor. Many websites marked down the game considerably and never gave it a chance but those who do this will be missing out.
The Story –
The story in God Hand is there… it’s just hard to follow. The story is defiantly the weakest part of the game. After beating the game twice, all I can tell you is that you play as Gene, a master martial artist who posses a God Hand. People want the God Hand, people try to kill you for your God Hand, you kick their ass. The story does begin to form more clearly near the end, when a group of Superior Demons try and summon the all-mighty Angra, you have to stop them. Overall the story will not win you over and Gene can be an unlikable protagonist at times. The game’s humor though is a saving grace. From the very first cutscene you will know that God Hand does not take itself too seriously at all and with overly-serious story lines nowadays in games, God Hands self-aware humor is very refreshing.
Being a PS2 game, God Hand does not live up to today’s standards graphic wise. Although the game still looks great for how old it is. Gene and other character models are detailed with great animation and it is very impressive how many moves he can pull of. The world itself though.. does not favor as much. Wall tend to disappear when the camera gets to close to them and textures are non-existent. But this isn’t a game that encourages exploring the world, the environments just serve to host your battles with the hundreds of thugs you will take on.
God Hand truly shines with its Gameplay. This is a beat-em-up game when it comes down to it. You are given a set-list of moves which you can customize to your liking and you take on enemies with a variety of punches and kicks. Gene himself can’t block enemy attacks so you have to be nimble with dodges at the right time in order to succeed. There is also a shop where you can expand your move slots and buy and upgrade moves. You can also upgrade Gene with health and God Hand TP. There are two factors that make God Hand different from just being another boring beat-em-up though. God Hand and Roulettes. When your TP meter fills up you can unleash God Hand which makes you invisible and your attacks faster and deadlier. You fill the meter by dodging enemy attacks and performing a number of moves in rapid succession against them. Roulettes are sepcial, “super” attacks that can be performed when you find Rouhlette cards hidden through-out each level. These moves take enemies down in single strikes with over the top, and sometimes silly, tactics. These moves also deplite a lot of a Boss’s health which is very usefull in such a difficult game. God Hand is not for the fait of heart. You are thrown into the game with little to no tutorial on how to play. Even on easy, God Hand is not easy and you will die many times. Luckily God Hand has a good checkpoint system so you’re never too frutrated and the game always seems fair.
God Hand is a great game for people who are willing to give it a shot. Despite some technical hiccups here and there and a clumsy story, God Hand provides fun, over the top action and sly wit. If you have enjoyed the classic beat-em-ups in the past, then God Hand is for you.
Overall Score – 6.5
-Matthew Bruce 2011